DOMINANT SECOND PLACE FINISH FOR GARY PAFFETT AT LAUSITZRING AS HE EXTENDS HIS LEAD IN THE DTM DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
British racing driver Gary Paffett scored a dominant second place finish at the Lausitzring in round two of the 2012 DTM Championship. This second place finish coupled with last weekend’s victory means Paffett extends his lead in the drivers’ Championship to 13 points.
Qualifying on Saturday was another extremely tightly contested affair. Paffett got through to Q4 and after each of the drivers had done their flying laps, just 0.043 seconds covered the top three with Paffett posting the third fastest time.
Ahead of Sunday’s race, Paffett had another strong showing in the warm up; posting the second fastest lap time, just 0.049 seconds behind team mate Jamie Green and headed into the race confident of another good result.
Paffett made another lightning start and snatched second place from Farfus heading into turn one. The Mercedes driver then set his sights on the BMW of Spengler who was just half a second in front.
Paffett and Spengler spent the next 15 laps matching each other lap for lap. With Paffett’s Mercedes quick in the corners and Spengler’s BMW having the edge on straightline speed, the gap between the two cars was stuck at 0.5 seconds. On lap 15 the team made the call to bring Paffett in for his first pit stop of theafternoon to try and jump Spengler in the pits. After a smooth stop by the pit crew Paffett rejoined the track. Spengler pitted one lap later but with an equally strong pitstop wasable to maintain his lead over Paffett.
Continuing to push hard to try and pass Spengler, Paffett set the fastest lap of the race on lap 19. Over the next five laps Paffett was taking three tenths of a second off Spengler’s lap time and closed right up on the back of the BMW driver on his second set of tyres.
On lap 31 Paffett made his second stop of the afternoon with Spengler pitting one lap later. With nothing between the two drivers, Spengler managed to come out just ahead of Paffett one again.
On a track that is notoriously difficult to pass on, Paffett and Spengler continued their fight to the finish and after 52 laps of racing, Paffett crossed the finish line less than a second behind Spengler.
“It’s great to have another strong result and to extend our lead in the Championship, although with Bruno and I being so closely matched throughout the race it is a little disappointing not to come away with the win! The car was fantastic again during the race so our focus will now be to work on our qualifying pace as grid position isvital at tracks where overtaking is difficult;” commented Gary Paffett.
“We are only two races in but it’s already clear that it’s going to be a really competitive year. It’s hard to believe that the top three in qualifying were separated by just thousandths of a second! We head to Brands Hatch next where it will be great to race in front of my home crowd and I will be aiming to continue the great start to the year and give them a reason to celebrate!” continued Paffett.
Paffett heads to Brands Hatch on the 20th May for round two of the Championship.
Paffett currently leads the drivers’ Championship with 43 points with Green in second place with 30 points and Spengler in third place with 25 points.